ATM (2012) Movie Review

Alice Eve, Josh Peck and Brian Geraghty in ATM (2011) Movie Image

Full disclosure: I openly mocked director David Brooks’ 2012 feature-length debut “ATM” when I first happened upon the trailer. A horror movie set inside a free-standing ATM? Starring Josh Peck? The film sounds ludicrous by design. However, it’s not nearly as butt-clenchingly terrible as one might initially imagine. Sure, a reasonable amount of disbelief must be suspended in order to fully enjoy the convoluted storyline, but Brooks and his capable cast — Peck included — do a fine job of making you believe that a scenario as silly as this could actually happen. Had this thing been released back in the mid-90′s, it probably would have cleaned up at the box office. Kevin Williamson should be proud of his vast cinematic legacy.

“ATM” concerns itself with the misadventures of three co-workers who, after attending a company Christmas party, decide to head home for the evening. David (Brian Geraghty) offers to give his would-be girlfriend Emily (Alice Eve) a lift home, an invitation that is accepted by his intoxicated and highly obnoxious friend Corey (Josh Peck). After pestering the hell out of David to find him something to eat, Corey insists that the trio swing by the nearest ATM so he can procure some cash. Thankfully, there just happens to be such a machine located inside a tiny glass structure in the middle of a deserted parking lot. How brutally convenient!

Alice Eve, Josh Peck and Brian Geraghty in ATM (2011) Movie Image

Before you can loudly scream “Big mistake!” at the television screen, a sinister-looking individual wearing a creepy parka begins skulking about the parking lot. At first, our heroes think that he’s just some unstable homeless guy looking for a Christmas Eve hand-out, that is, until he nonchalantly beats a guy to death right before their very eyes. Although his intentions are never completely revealed, the trio suspects that he wants to rob the ATM, and he’s waiting for one of them to make a mistake so he can sneak inside. Thus begins a rather uneventful game of cat and mouse, one that involves lots of bickering, finger-pointing, and ice water. Lots and lots of ice water. And you thought ATM service charges were a headache.

Like I said, there’s nothing overly original happening here. Accept for the location, of course. The film pops along at a reasonable speed, which is good when 75% of your motion picture is set within one tiny room with three annoying twenty-somethings. Giving yourself over to the movie’s internal logic is the most difficult part; complaining about the characters and their brainless, half-baked decisions becomes tiring after the first 40 minutes, so you might as well succumb to the stupidity. Allowing your mind to accept the plot and its bevy of devices is essential to enjoying the picture. If you can’t get past the whole “trapped in an ATM by a sadistic killer” angle, then all hopes of entertainment shall be lost. Completely.

Those who long for the days of “Urban Legend” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer” will probably enjoy “ATM” the most. The numerous flaws are apparently from the outset, though the film still manages to provide mild entertainment for parties looking for a flick they don’t have to spend too much time thinking about. The performances are surprisingly strong, the pacing allows for moderate suspense, and the ending is suitably downbeat and acceptable given the genre. That having been said, “ATM” isn’t a good movie by any stretch of the imagination. The concept is actually kind of cool, though there isn’t nearly enough meat around the bone to make this movie an entire meal. It’s clever, but not clever enough. Lightly recommended.

David Brooks (director) / Chris Sparling (screenplay)
CAST: Alice Eve … Emily
Josh Peck … Corey
Brian Geraghty … David

ATM (2012) Movie Poster



About Todd Rigney

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Todd was raised on a steady diet of Hollywood blockbusters, late-night Cinemax programming, and USA’s “Up All Night,” which may explain why his taste in movies is more than a little questionable. When he isn’t providing news and reviews for Beyond Hollywood, he can be found lounging lazily on his couch, perched in front of his television, or dwelling in places where direct sunlight can be easily avoided. He's happily married, in his 30's, and totally badass. If you'd like to reach Todd, you can follow him on Twitter or send him email/scoops to todd (at) beyondhollywood.com.

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  • X_p

    i have to disagree with you on this one this movie is a turd wrapped up in your favorite burrito’s tortilla. to say that the movie is uneventful is a compliment. its boring, not really that scary and always feels like a deleted scene from the worst saw movie. the casting is ok and they seem to get really into it but i gotta give this one a 2 out 10 at the end of the day.

  • Sgh

    You all seem to miss an entire point of this movie, first it could very well happen to just about anyone anywhere, as there are always psychopathic sadists lurking for an opportunity, and second that modern “men” and “women” are ill equipped with skills to defend themselves against pretty much anything.
    In the west the non confrontational culture reaches an extreme that is rather peculiar having all those guns around.
    That is what this film is all about, think about it next time you visit a supermarket that can at any moment be owned by a madman with any kind of weapon, even beer cans.
    In Slavic countries guys such as this get handled by kids.